Troubleshooting a Cracked Cylinder Head Troubleshooting a Cracked Cylinder Head

A cracked cylinder head can be the cause of a great deal of problems to your vehicle without immediately presenting itself as being the cause of the fault. By understanding how to locate and rectify the defect with the cylinder, you can ensure that your vehicle continues to run smoothly.  

Examination

Begin the process of repairing a cracked cylinder head by examining the relevant part of the engine and making sure they are actually at fault. Lift the hood and fix it in place with the prop, making sure that it is properly secured before working beneath it. This must be undertaken when the car is cold and, if possible, in conjunction with the car’s manual. This will give you an idea of the correct installation and the way the component should look.

Defects

Due to the smooth surfaces that the component normally has, it is relatively easy to diagnose a cracked cylinder head. Cracks can form in the metal that make them up because some combinations of metals cannot take too much pressure. The cylinder heads will need to be replaced if cracks have developed in the sides. Also check for any discoloration and/or warping as this can be a sign that a crack is imminent. It is necessary to check the join where the cylinder heads attach to its neighboring components. Problems can arise if the join is not flush.

Installation   

The procedure for installing new cylinder heads is as important as that for removing the cracked cylinder head. You must ensure that the replacement is of the correct specifications as they are not uniform for all vehicles. Use the correct tools for the job to ensure that it is completed correctly.      

Causes

One of the main causes of a cracked cylinder head is an overheated engine so it is important to maintain your engine to prevent this from occurring. Cylinder heads that have been incorrectly installed can also quickly develop defects that cause them to crack, accordingly, you may find that the problem can even arise in a new car. Engines that make use of different types of metals can be problematic because the metals react differently to heat, causing a defect to develop at one point while the surrounding components remain intact.

Prevention

After installation, it is important to carry out whatever steps are necessary to prevent the problem from occurring again. Avoid pouring cold water onto the engine to cool it when it overheats as the sudden change in temperature can do more harm than good. Allow the engine to cool before adding water where it is necessary. Make sure that the water in the radiator is always topped up to the correct level and that the seal on the cap is in good condition. The car can be allowed to overheat if the thermostat and/or fan are defective so make sure they are in good working order. Defects to other components within the engine can cause the engine to overheat so check hoses and other components to ensure everything is in good condition.

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